The calls for reform came a day after the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute reported that the price for drugs used to treat type 1 diabetes almost doubled in the last five years. There are about 1.2 million Americans who have the condition.
Chronic disease management and treatment for individuals with type 1 diabetes can cost patients thousands of dollars each year, primarily due to the increasing cost of insulin, according to a recent report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). But while the share of each one of those non-insulin expenses as a proportion of total healthcare costs decreased over time, insulin costs continued to climb, accounting for 47% of the $6,000 increase in total per person spending over the period.
The average cost of managing Type 1 diabetes in employer-sponsored health insurance plans rose from $12,467 in 2012 to nearly $18,500 in 2016.
The rise in costs was driven by price increases by drugmakers. At a news conference, legislators said they would aim to require pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent about their reasons for boosting insulin prices and set up a system that would allow those with diabetes to access refills if they can’t afford the drug.
“There has been a flurry of news reports sharing stories of individuals with diabetes rationing their insulin because they can not afford higher and higher prices”, according to HCCI. “These anecdotes are consistent with findings of researchers documenting price increases on diabetic therapies, specifically insulin, over the last several years”. For these diabetics, insulin is a life-saving medication, and going without it can have deadly results. His household believed he supposed to ration his insulin till he might pay for the treatment, a call that proved lethal, as his mom, Nicole Smith-Holt, informed CBS MoneyWatch previous year. Since his death, she said she had heard similar stories from other diabetics and their families.
“We have people who are making life and death decision daily of, ‘Do I buy groceries and or do I buy my insulin?'” she said. Meanwhile, prefilled insulin pens are becoming more common, having increased from 38% of usage in 2012 to 46% in 2016. By 2016, their prices would have jumped to $5,900, the researchers discovered. Although there is no generic version of insulin, there are numerous variations based on when and how the patient takes the drug.
A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers on Tuesday said it would bring legislation aimed at cracking down on the rising price of insulin.
Yet despite insulin’s discovery nearly a century ago, no generic version of the drug exists, and three manufacturers – Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk – control 99 percent of the market. When more of a medication is purchased and consumed, prices inevitably soar.
“In 2012, a vial of Humalog insulin was priced at $130”. By 2016, the same vial was priced at $255.
Now, the cost of insulin is rising and patients could be faced with sacrificing their insulin for other necessities.